DVD Review – War on Everyone (2016)

Michael McDonaugh checklist.

1. Corrupt but likeable protagonists, check.
2. Abhorrent antagonists, check.
3. Comedy that will offend every sex, race and religion, check.
John Michael McDonagh’s third feature film is about two corrupt asshole cops who you only know are cops because they occasionally show their badges (when they don’t lose them) as they seem to do absolutely ZERO actually policing… ever.
 
That’s when the movie is at it’s best. It’s not a character driven film with subtle performances from it’s leads, it’s a loud, brash and sometimes just wrong on so many levels that you’ll be laughing out of being uncomfortable.
 
I ended up thinking a lot of the Nice Guys while i watched this. Both are quite different movies sure, specially because this one is darker. Both try to do similar things but The Nice Guys does it a lot better, mostly thanks to a more focused story and more layered characters.
 
It was at its best for me when it was mean spirited. Later on they try to make it about two bad people against someone evil, but the way the movie gets there is forced, even using elements like child abuse and child pornography to make the main characters to go after the villain, not just for money but to kill him because he is a monster, but the change is so quick and the revelation comes off as manipulative and out of tone.
 
The acting is really good, both Peña and Skarsgård are not only really funny but also have great chemistry. Caleb Landry Jones is over the top and unpleasant in a good way and Theo James is intimidating as hell as the big bad. Most of the characters themselves never get to be fleshed out properly, though, with the only one having an arc and any depth is Skarsgård’s, but his arc doesn’t work as well as it could.
 
Special features include premiere crawl footage (pointless), a featurette where the cast say what they think the title represents and interviews with the main cast, which is a good enough watch if not terribly substantial. I would say, if you’re going to watch anything I would listen to the commentary. The director is a bit too flippant when talking about some of the cast and it’s hard to tell when he’s being serious or not (poking fun at a child actor, implying that he should have used real cocaine when it’s used in scenes). Still, it’s an easy enough listen and it even has its own article in the latest Empire Magazine.

Peter Fletcher

Comedy, Crime | USA, 2016 | 15 |30th January 2017 (UK) | Icon Film Entertainment | Dir.John Michael McDonagh | Alexander Skarsgård, Michael Peña, Tessa Thompson, Theo James, Caleb Landry Jones |Buy:[Blu-ray]